How AI Can Revolutionize Cars

Just like many other industries, artificial intelligence is making a huge change in the way we look at cars. Not just in the private sector, but also as a newly-emerging competitor for taxi and delivery services, especially when it comes to self-driving autonomous vehicles. Contrary to popular belief, the definition of an autonomous car really falls within a spectrum of definitions, depending on the level of machine/human collaboration. At its most basic, there is automation for driver assistance. This is when a system merely assists the driver’s motions but does not control anything itself. An example of driving assistance would be parking sensors. At the more advanced levels, the car and the human would each take turns controlling the car. This is something that used to feel like science fiction but is now a reality.

Self-driving cars increase the amount of power given to an artificially intelligent system, as opposed to relying solely on a human component. Sensors are a big part of the equation when it comes to self-driving cars. The system gets most of its input from real-world data that is being rapidly accumulated from hundreds of sensors located all over the vehicle. In today’s day and age, there are different levels of data input and control. Looking at highly automated and fully automated, the key difference is that humans still run a highly automated system and they choose to hand over temporary control. A fully automated system, however, is one that is making the machine the primary user. The vehicle is solely system-based. A human’s presence is still needed, but they do not interfere with any functions. A completely automated car is one that requires no assistance whatsoever from a driver as it navigates from point A to point B. When people refer to a robocar, the vehicle has enough sensors to make decisions based on its environment in order to deliver passengers safely to their destination. 

In addition to removing the worry of control, AI is seeking to appeal to generations that no longer want the burden of ownership, either. Many millennials choose shared economies and the newer pay-to-play services such as streaming over DVD rentals, rideshares over car rentals, and city bikes over buying their own. Likewise, the concept of private automobile ownership will seem archaic within the next two decades. 

 

Car Safety Features That Can Save Lives

Today’s cars are getting more and more intelligent. This isn’t in reference to the machinery itself, but rather the artificial intelligence that’s being incorporated into it. Cars of the future will no longer just be a simple means of transport. They will work alongside the driver to promote maximum efficiency and safety. That being said, there are responsibilities that people will still have in order to let the cars evolve. We are still miles away from having a fully automated system in place for all standard, affordable vehicles. 

One technological advancement that has already saved many people from potential accidents is the concept of sensor technology. This is essentially like having an extra pair of eyes on the top and sides of your car that can compensate for human limitations such as blind spots. It can also alert a driver if other cars start drifting into their lane. Despite all of this assistance, however, it is still vital that the driver maintain a nonstop vigilant line of focus while driving. In addition, cars will have reverse camera technology on display in front of them. This will enable drivers to see what’s behind them as they are backing up.

Machine learning and vision assistance are hot button topics these days when discussing AI and the automobile industry.  One major cause of automobile death is distraction. This could be a sleepy truckdriver or a teenager texting and driving, but the result is the same. Some AI firms have developed a way of detecting when drivers lose focus, and it initiates a series of suggestions, ranging from suggesting a break to gradually slowing down the vehicle.

In a sense, partial automation has already existed for quite some time. Cruise control has been around since the late 1940s, and power steering since the 1960s. Both of these features still require alertness frmo the driver and an instant ability to retake control if necessary.

One major caveat to technology is the learning curve. A driver is the worst person to ask to participate in a focus group to relearn a formerly simple task like changing A/C controls. Once technology itself ends up being the distraction, the message is lost. 

AI’s Influence on Our Lives

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is no longer just a faraway concept being speculated about in futuristic stories. Smart machines and computer learning are very real concepts that are already interwoven with many aspects of our daily lives. While some people still fear the unknown future of relinquishing control to emotionless entities, there are some tasks for which logic-based decision making is perfectly designed. 

People who have the luxury of amassing jewelry often have to consult an expert to analyze the value of a gem, such as a diamond. There are many factors to take into account, such as the four C’s: carat, cut, clarity, and color. The average eye, even with the right magnifying tools, can’t always be perfect. This is where artificial intelligence comes in. ROSI is the world’s first digital gemologist and it uses a very special system called Watson. Developed at IBM research labs, Watson is a question-answering computer system that is capable of understanding and answering questions posed in natural language. This means it can converse with humans. In addition to using this tool, ROSI incorporates a proprietary algorithm to analyze millions of diamonds worldwide within seconds. The center diamond is then chosen based on millions of calculations and ultimately the multi-dimensional analysis tool is used to offer the best result at the maximum value.

Auto insurance is something that is inevitable for any driver, but the costs can change, depending on certain factors. There are still costly matters that rely on people’s perceptions, such as claims, and it’s often one person’s word against another’s. In addition, many auto insurance providers have to deal with fraudulent claims that lead to lost revenue. Artificial intelligence is now being used to not only save drivers from needless premium increases, but it also prevents cases of fraud. AVA is Metromile’s automated claims assistant. This app can be used in the case of an incident without having to speak to a person. The opt-in sensor data can reconstruct the accident scene to determine where the fault lies and can lead to rapid collision damage compensation. 

The Internet of Things (IoT) is another way that AI is influencing our lives. Before this, our computers functioned through a human-to-computer connection. The interconnectedness of computers and digital machines means they now can use unique identifiers to transfer data without requiring humans at all.

Choosing the Right Insurance Plan For You

Each year, millions of Americans make decisions about which insurance plans to sign up for. When it comes to insurance plans, there are many factors to consider. There are state-run and federally-run exchanges. Within these marketplaces are different plans such as HMOs, PPOs, EPOs, and POS. These determine what in-network means and how much you will be spending out-of-pocket. 

Contrary to popular belief, you need to force yourself to look beyond monthly premiums when comparing different insurance plans. Most people think that premiums are the only thing that matters and deductibles are associated with hypothetical emergency care. They take into account their age and the likelihood of disease or an accident. The truth is that deductibles are a very real fact of life that needs to be taken seriously. In addition to deductibles, co-payments and prescriptions can also add up. Everything needs to be taken into account when deciding on a plan.

Keeping in mind all of the unknowns about the future, experts recommend that you should use what you currently know about your health needs as a base point. If you have a doctor you like, for example, then it’s important to choose a plan that keeps him in-network. Likewise, if you tend to use a certain prescription drug by name, look for a plan that covers them. One of the benefits of searching HealthCare.gov allows you to add your provider and your prescription drugs as you browse plans to see whether they’re covered. A tool available on HealthCare.gov acts as an estimator for yearly costs, based on a number of factors, including a plan’s deductible, copays for doctor’s visits and specialists, and how often you anticipate visiting the doctor in the coming year.

When you search for health insurance on the internet, you may stumble on short term plans that advertise much lower monthly premiums, but don’t meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). If something looks too good to be true, it most definitely is. You could be missing out on important coverage like prenatal and mental health treatment. A new tool this year has been added to help potential customers find the perfect match without being scammed. Following the methodology of Yelp and Amazon, people can read reviews and look at a star rating system to see which plans to avoid. 

 

Does your Malpractice Insurance cover these key events?

Amigo MGA Malpractice InsuranceIn addition to all the other costs of becoming a doctor, from the time in school to the ensuing debt, medical professionals also need to be concerned about malpractice insurance. Work on the human body can often go awry, since best practices change with some frequency, no two bodies are created equal, and doctors are people too. As such, doctors need to be covered in the event that a procedure goes wrong and the patient sues for damages caused. Even well-intentioned doctors make mistakes, so coverage is required by most practices and hospitals as a precautionary measure.

If you’re new to the medical field and need to purchase malpractice insurance, or if you haven’t reviewed your malpractice insurance policy in some time, a few seemingly-small aspects may slip through the cracks. Make sure you’re covered for the following instances.

Cyber Insurance: As we all remember too well from the recent cyber attacks against hospitals in the EU and other countries, the cybersecurity in healthcare facilities is often subpar, despite how vital it is to the wellbeing of the patients. Doctors today need to ensure that they’re covered in the event of a cybersecurity breach, data leakage, or malicious hostage situation.

Volunteer Insurance: Many doctors spend parts of their careers volunteering overseas to provide free or reduced-cost medical care to sick people in developing nations. Some malpractice insurance policies only cover work on American soil or within the walls of the doctor’s practice. If you plan to offer your services to those in need, make sure that you choose an insurance plan that covers you in case something goes wrong during a pro bono procedure.

Non-Medical Protection: As the healthcare industry is, in fact, a business, there will be some business-like liabilities you’ll need to protect yourself against. Take, for example, tax forms or insurance claims. In the event that you accidentally misfiled your income tax or made a mistake filing a Medicare claim, you’ll need some insurance to cover the costs of correcting the problem and all the red tape that will certainly ensue.
Overdose Insurance: The opioid epidemic is hitting crisis levels in some states, and as such, the likelihood of being sued for an over-prescription that lead to an addiction or death is climbing. As was made clear in the riveting work of investigative journalism American Pain by John Temple, the federal government now has a vested interest in prosecuting doctors and facilities it dubs “pill mills,” a term used to describe offices that dole out opioids with reckless abandon for a profit. With this in mind, ensure that your malpractice insurance will help you fight claims that your medical prescriptions were malicious and solely for profit.

Who Pays for Maternity Insurance?

Amigo MGA LLC Who Pays for Maternity Insurance-Lots of questions, controversy, and uncertainty has resulted from the Trump administration’s proposed replacement to Obamacare, also known as the Affordable Care Act. Under President Trump’s proposed health care act, entitled the American Health Care Act, federal stipulations on funding and coverage would be rolled back, potentially reducing coverage to Americans in need and raising expenses.

GOP Congressman John Shimkus from Illinois has been a vocal advocate of the American Health Care Act. He publicly denounced Obamacare’s individual mandate, claiming it was preposterous for men to be charged for maternity and pregnancy insurance, since they can’t directly tap into the benefits of such coverage. This statement in particular has ignited a debate among legislators and their constituents about the very purpose of taxes and the logistics of health care coverage.

Maternity insurance was named as one of the ten essential areas of coverage former president Obama included in his healthcare bill in 2014. Usually, maternity or pregnancy policies will help cover or defray the costs of prenatal care, delivery, recovery, and outpatient services. These policies will often also cover counseling for lactation, postpartum depression, and other conditions that accompany childbirth. As per the ACA, insurance companies had to cover pregnancy and maternity.

Congressman Shimkus argued in March that it was silly for men to have to chip in for maternity insurance, since to his knowledge, no men had ever given birth. The video footage of his observing this before Congress went viral, with some lauding his bravery and others accusing him of undermining essential reproductive rights and coverage.

While the congressman technically correct, the function of insurance is not necessarily to cover only what one person needs. For health insurance specifically, costs per person are calculated by pooling risks and divvying up the “average” cost among everyone with a plan. In the end, everyone winds up paying for some coverage they don’t need, but by the same token, they pay less for the coverage they do need. A woman, for example, may very well take advantage of pregnancy coverage, but will likely never need to purchase viagra or be treated for prostate cancer.

Those opposed to the ACHA have called on the heartlessness of those who want to opt out of paying for insurance that will benefit the “greater good,” comparing Shimkus’ proposal to someone asking to be exempted from taxes that help build a bridge the individual will never use in their lifetime. However, as we have discussed elsewhere, insurance is, in fact, an industry. While maternity insurance does help defray the cost of hospital births, it can urge women away from seeking a more cost-effective form of prenatal care including midwives and doulas.

If the ACHA passes as it’s written, maternity insurance would no longer be covered by the vast majority of insurance providers. Most standard healthcare policies do include childbirth, but not all of them.

Pet Insurance

amigo mga pet insuranceIf you have a scaled or furry friend in your life, you may have briefly considered taking out an insurance policy to cover your pet’s potential injuries or procedures. Most people opt not to take out a health insurance policy for their pets, but you may not have considered just how valuable that insurance policy could be to saving you money, stress, and your pet’s life. If you’re even considering pet insurance, here’s some information to consider.

Firstly, talk with a trusted veterinarian. Usually, vets can give sound advice about which insurance agency will offer you the best deal to get you the most coverage for the most reasonable price. They are a non-partisan source for information, since they don’t make any money on insurance sales. The vast majority of vets will also take any insurance, so you won’t have to worry about in-network care providers the same way you have to with people insurance.

Vets are also well-versed in the different breeds of pets and the kind of care each kind of dog, cat, bird, or reptile will need. For example, pugs are highly prone to cardiovascular and pulmonary issues, so you may need extra coverage to keep your pug healthy at a reasonable cost. Consult your vet on what species or breed specific issues may need extra coverage for your pet.

Think about the cost versus benefit of the cost. On the one hand, you could be paying a decent amount of money as your monthly premium. However, consider how much the cost would be defrayed in the event of an emergency or accident. Amigo MGA has already written about high versus low deductibles for human health insurance and car insurance, and you may want to do the same calculations for your pet.

You’ll also want to do the preemptive work to keep insurance rates low. Make sure your pet stays healthy by grooming it regularly and taking it to the vet for regular check-ups or to consult if something seems “off.” Doing the leg work on the front end will keep costs low in the future, just like with human health insurance.
While still being cost-conscious, you don’t want to skimp out on protection for your family pet. In the event of an emergency or just regular health issues, you want peace of mind knowing that it won’t cost you an arm and a leg and that your pet will be happy and healthy again in no time.

Self-Driving Cars and Auto Insurance

amigo_mga_self_driving_cars_and_auto_insuranceAuto insurance agencies know a lot about traffic, how it works, what causes it, and how to best ensure drivers based on factors like age, college GPA, income, and color of the vehicle. Traffic engineers know well that no matter what they do to direct and control traffic, human error is hard to account for. For example, we have the classic dilemma of when to merge in the event of a road closure or construction. Do you merge over as soon as you see that the road is closing soon, or do you wait until your lane is cut off to merge?

In his landmark work on traffic engineering entitled, Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us), Tom Vanderbilt helps readers understand the nuances of what makes drivers behave the way they do and how city planners, construction crews, navigation apps, and drivers themselves try to account for this in their day-to-day lives. From an unexpected demonstration to someone distracted by a song on the radio, it’s hard to account for human error when making plans that have to do with transportation.

What if we take the human driver out of the equation, though? For the most part, auto insurance covers the damage drivers cause to their own cars and to the people, vehicles, or other property involved in the accident. It’s been demonstrated that self-driving cars are not immune from getting into accidents and causing havoc. In 2016, a self-driving Tesla car was involved in a fatal accident in Florida. Who, then, bears the responsibility?

Warren Buffett, who owns Berkshire Hathaway, which recently acquired Geico insurance, believes that the onus of protection will shift from drivers to those who manufacture and program the self-driving cars. Already the state of Michigan has passed laws that require the automakers to assume responsibility for any accident that occurred because of a self-driving car.

Since it’s common knowledge that most of the traffic issues that plague our day to day lives are the results of human error, many believe that automation will reduce the instance of accidents. However, if automakers are required to bear the responsibility for insuring these autonomous vehicles, they may experience a disincentive to produce them, since the costs would swell as the technology’s bugs get worked out. Thus, the speed of technology development would plateau and human-caused traffic accidents would continue to occur.

There are a lot more questions than answers right now regarding what will happen as cars are no longer controlled by fallible people. Insurance companies, automakers, and legislators will continue to debate where the burden belongs, but in the meantime, auto insurance will continue to cover must human error.

What you need to know about Travel Insurance

Amigo MGA | What you need to know about Travel InsuranceIf you plan on taking a trip any time soon, you likely get a pop-up at the bottom of your ticket purchase screen asking if you want to purchase insurance for your mode of travel. As spring break and summer break rapidly approach, you may be planning on taking a trip abroad, and you want to make sure you’re protected against theft, identity fraud, injury, transportation problems, and in rare but serious cases, shipping your body back to your family. Travel insurance is an important aspect of your safety overseas, but you need to know exactly what you’re paying for and what your coverage buys.

If you’re planning your trip via a travel site, whatever you do, don’t blindly agree to whatever insurance they’re offering you. A recent article detailed how many people will just accept the policy the travel agency offers, but that shopping around could provide better coverage for a better price.

Most standard life and property insurance policies don’t quite cover anything that happens while you’re away from home. Especially if you fall ill while you’re outside the US, your health insurance will be completely useless to you. Additionally, any luggage you lose in transit likely won’t fall under your standard theft insurance, so you could be naked and afraid once you land in your destination. Travel insurance isn’t required by any stretch, but it sure could make your life easier in the event of an unforeseen incident.

Firstly, of course, is the insurance that covers your transportation. In the event that your flight is cancelled or traffic makes you miss your train, you’ll want to use some of the money you spent on your ticket to purchase a new ticket. This is a decision you need to make on your own. The options listed on the transportation’s sites are usually fine, but again, you may have better options elsewhere.

You also need to take into account whether you have any preexisting medical conditions. In one infamous story, a man in the UK had a heart attack while traveling to the US, but his insurance refused to cover the medical expenses because he failed to disclose that he had experience heart failure a few years prior. Insurance is especially important if you do have any genetic conditions, medical problems, or risks of recurring issues, but by the same token, it’ll take some negotiating with your provider to ensure that all your possible issues are fully covered.

As it turns out, some credit card companies include travelers insurance in their fine print. According to a USA Today article, depending on your policy, some credit card companies will reimburse for items lost in travel, sudden flight cancellations, or trip “interruptions” like illnesses or labor strikes.

You may be tempted to rely on your credit card policy for travelers insurance to pinch pennies, it’s not a catch all, and there are some important instances that they won’t cover. As reported in ITIJ, “credit card coverage falls short in a few areas: robust trip cancellation coverage, medical and evacuation coverage, pre-existing medical conditions, card limits and covering other travelers. CSA explained that only around 15 per cent of credit cards offer travel cancellation insurance and most trip cancellation or interruption protection offered by credit cards is limited to a handful of reasons such as illness, injury or death.”

Traveling should be fun and stress-free, but to make sure that’s the case, you need to ensure that any potential problems are covered by a policy that takes care of any injuries, theft, or transportation issues that could arise.

Insurance & Your Engagement

1In the wake of Valentine’s Day, Facebook is flooded with happy couples who’ve recently become engaged and need to start making wedding plans. With that new ring, though, comes a flood of insurance questions and potential policies you need to consider. Below are a few ways you can protect yourself, your spouse-to-be, and your big day.

Ring Insurance: Many insurance agencies offer policies specific to fine jewelry, including precious metals, rare gems, antique pieces, and famous costume pieces (for example, Beyonce’s golden crown). Some will even insure “smart” jewelry. For engagement rings in particular, it’s important to find a policy that protects you from damage, theft, and loss, as all of these are common for such a small yet valuable piece of jewelry. You can often insure the ring directly from the jeweler from whom you bought it, or you can take out a policy on it separately on your own insurance plan. Especially for beach proposals, engagement rings are easily lost in the sand, in a beach towel, or to the vast ocean, so be sure to protect yourself against losing such a priceless investment.

Wedding Day Insurance: Weddings are expensive, and the last thing you want is to lose all the money you put down because of an unforeseen accident. If, for instance, there’s inclement weather, a parent suddenly becomes very sick, or the venue abruptly becomes unusable. Before purchasing insurance, check with each vendor, as caterers often have their own insurance. Depending on your policy, wedding insurance usually covers the site, the weather, vendor no-shows, sickness, and military deployment. Unfortunately, though, wedding insurance policies don’t usually cover cold feet, so if you or your betrothed have a last minute change-of-heart, you may be out of luck covering the costs of the wedding.

Auto insurance: Once you’re married, you may combine your auto insurance into one policy. For couples under the age of 30, you could receive up to a 25% discount for getting married, since it demonstrates responsibility. Check with your insurance provider about the impacts of potentially combining your policies.

Health Insurance: There are more options for how to deal with health insurance once you’re married, and there are a lot of factors to consider. You could each just keep your individual insurance policies, or one of you could join the other’s policy. This might be tedious, but you and your betrothed need to sit down and consider the details of each of your insurance policies and how adding a spouse would affect the deductibles (which I’ve written about before) and out-of-pocket costs. You also need to consider what would happen if you decide to start a family and whose insurance would handle such an addition better.
There are lots of ways to protect yourself, your stuff, and the person you love when it comes to planning for a future together. Always read the fine print when deciding on a policy, and always think long term.